Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



Case Studies from a Breakthrough Innovation Product Design Programme For Local Industries

More Info
									Framework for solving Global problems-A case
study using TRIZ
Abhisek Bhowmik
602 537 3928(O) 480 626 2505(H) or

Business Analyst
Infosys Technologies Limited
10835, N 25th Avenue, Suite 300
Phoenix-AZ 85029 Phone 480 655 3579


TRIZ was originally derived from the analysis of patents related to technical problems and
therefore early applications were associated with engineering problems. Over the years, the
TRIZ Inventive Principles have been modified to solve Business and Social Problems. The
aim of this paper is to recognize today’s most important global problems, the framework
needed to solve these problems and how TRIZ principles can be applied to actually solve
these issues.

Today’s global Problems

Following are some of the major issues faced by humanity today:

   •   Environmental problems:

       Pollution (Ozone layer hole,Greenhouse effect,Global warming and Thermal
       Pollution,Pesticides,Arsenic contamination,Acid rain, Sound, water, air & Chemical
       Natural disasters (earthquake, flood etc.) etc.

   •   Social and Economic problems:

       Population Explosion, Poverty, unemployment, unfair economic (monopoly and unfair
       competition) sexual (women issues, Flesh Trading etc.) and racial differences, war,
       Terrorism, Corruption, Law & Order problem, Low Conviction Rate, Child labor,
       illiteracy etc.

   •   Health problems:

       AIDS, Cancer, Heart & Brain Disorders, Smoking, Obesity, alcoholism, SAD etc.
Framework needed for solving these issues

Governmental, Corporate social responsibility groups and thousands of NGOs are
working on these problems. Billions have been spent and is being allocated for future
use in tackling these problems. But the problem solving approaches to these issues may
not be the best way to proceed. This is because of the fact that these problems are the
result of the natural contradictions present in our social, economic and political systems
and primarily we have tried to solve these by compromising on contradicting factors of
interest. In short the solutions we have suggested are not innovative enough to account
for the conflicting interests.

TRIZ is a methodology which helps us to create innovative solutions by eliminating
contradictions and maximizing the utilization of resources already present in the system.
Hence, the application of TRIZ in solving these global problems has immense
possibilities. In this paper we will try to showcase the application of TRIZ principles to
solve one of these problems.
Before we proceed to actually solving these problems let’s first propose the framework
needed to solve these issues. We will account for all the inherent features present in any
complex system and try to incorporate those in our practical solutions.

•   Think win-win. If somebody has to suffer on a permanent basis, the solution is not
    going to work. For example, if we stop using plastic bags without giving other
    options to plastic traders they will not allow us to do it. So we should try to create
    better alternatives to plastic bags (maybe biodegradable plastics) rather than making
    protest demonstrations to stop plastic usage.
•   It should be a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound)
    solution. The accounting should be on an actual financial results basis (only the
    actual results that we are achieving) and not on a projected basis. This is important
    because using the present accounting system we sometimes don’t consider the
    actual figures and showcase the brightest picture. We should be honest in accounting
    our progress.
•   It should be a capitalistic solution (not an impractical socialist solution). People
    working with the solution should have a tangible gain from it (expect no charity out
    of it). I believe it to be the most stable and honorable way of working.
•   It should be a worst condition design (golden rule for Engineering Design).
•   It should be market-driven decentralized solution. The framework should be such
    that there is no scope of hypocrisy and corruption.
•   The framework should be based on Negative Feedback Control System. This is the
    most natural way for checks & balances in a system.
•   Unfortunately, we cannot neglect the effect of chaos from the system. So our design
    must account for it.
•   We should plan for a sustainable end result. For example, in pollution problems we
    should not only look to minimize the pollution because this is not a sustainable
    solution. Our aim will be to have a pollution-free world and we will try to figure out
    how we can attain that status on a sustainable basis. For achieving that we have to
    figure out some ways to reverse the effects of pollution rather than trying to
    minimizing it.
Using TRIZ to solve a serious global problem: Environmental

Environmental Pollution is a serious problem faced by the world today. Unplanned excessive
use of natural resources like carbon based fuels, deforestation, imbalances in ecosystem,
and extreme industrial pollution are considered to be the prime causes of environmental
pollution besides the natural sources of pollution (natural radioactivity in mines, greenhouse
gases in hot water streams etc.). We have already faced grave concerns of global warming,
ozone depletion, sea level increase and other major catastrophic trends in global weather

Let us use some TRIZ tools to model plausible solutions for these diverse problems. We will
discuss the application of some of the main philosophies of TRIZ and some of the Innovative
Principles offered by TRIZ.

Ideal Final Result (IFR)

The Ideal Final Result should be a sustainable pollution free world where we will have
normal flow of resource cycles (carbon cycle etc.) and processes.
The global macro parameters should have an acceptable steady state values (like steady
world temperature, ecological balances etc.).

Proper usage of available resources

This has to be achieved with the proper utilization of resources already present in the
No external elements should be entered into the system to solve this.

For example, phytoplankton present in the sea water can be used as a wonderful resource
for curbing greenhouse gases, UV rays and acid rain and at the same time forming useful
clouds for proper rain.

Two research scientists (Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and
NASA) suggested this wonderful way of solving environmental problem.

When dust storms pass over industrialized areas, they pick up sulfur dioxide, an acidic trace
gas emitted from industrial facilities and power plants. As the dust storms move out over
the ocean, the sulfur dioxide they carry lowers the pH (a measure of acidity and alkalinity)
level of dust and transforms iron into a soluble form. This conversion is important because
dissolved iron is a necessary micronutrient for phytoplankton - tiny aquatic plants that serve
as food for fish and other marine organisms, and also reduce carbon dioxide levels in Earth's
atmosphere via photosynthesis. Phytoplanktons carry out almost half of the Earth's
photosynthesis even though they represent less than 1 percent of the planet's biomass.
Another recent study funded by NASA's Earth Science Department shows that the tiny sea
plants release high quantities of cloud-forming compounds on days when the sun's harmful
ultraviolet rays are especially strong. The compounds evaporate into the air through a series
of chemical processes that result in especially reflective clouds. This, in turn, prevents the
radiation from effecting the phytoplankton.
These two examples emphasize how present resources within the system can solve age old
problems. 1, 2, 3

Use of Established Innovative methods

Another philosophy of TRIZ is to reuse the already established innovative solutions and
customize them according to the needs.

We will use some of the established TRIZ innovative solutions to solve different
environmental pollution problem.

Creating new kind of industries

Waste management, reusing waste resources, renewable energy power sources, and carbon
accounting 4 are the new age industries. The following TRIZ principles can be shown to be
use in this case: Principle 13. ‘The other way round’, Principle 22. “Blessing in disguise” or
“Turn Lemons into Lemonade”, Principle 23. ‘Feedback’.

These will help to reverse the adverse effects of environmental pollution on a sustainable

Waste management is going to become a major industry tomorrow. The separation of
hazardous material (Principle 1. ‘Segmentation’), reusing them for future products (Principle
2. ‘Taking out’) is coming in a big way. Electronic waste( and nuclear
radioactive waste management is becoming new business for future.

Environment management organizations are working on tree plantation, irrigation,
terracing, and soil and water conservation (Principle 9. ‘Preliminary anti-action’). These
programs are for poor unemployed people who work for food. Primarily they are backed by
World Food Program of United Nations (

Electronic society for less paper and energy use

Telecommunication is helping us minimize commuting. Working from home and virtual
telephonic meetings are becoming common practices in the industry. People go to the
workplace if and only if some physical activity is needed by them in the workplace. In this
way a lot of fuel and energy resources can be saved. TRIZ Principle 28. ‘Substitution for
mechanical means’ and Principle 2. ‘Taking out’ can be applied in this case.
Paper books are made from trees. A lot of ‘green world’ is being sacrificed for the ‘literary
world’. We can instead use electronic books (Principle 27. Use cheap Replacement Events)
for our educational purpose.

Genetic Engineering

Genetic Engineering has immense potential in improving agricultural productivity. Most of
the funding related to biological research is invested in this field due to its business
opportunity. Genetic Engineering can be considered to be an application of TRIZ Principle
40. ‘Composite materials’ and Principle 35. ‘Parameter changes’.

At the same time we should be very careful before using genetically modified foods. Risk
mitigation of genetically modified foods by extensive testing is necessary (Principle 9.
‘Preliminary anti-action’).

Nanotechnology: Making new smart systems

Nanotechnology is a modern material science technology where smart systems are made by
manipulating materials at the nano level. TRIZ principle 7. “Nested doll” can be used in this
case. Using nano materials we can create very small but useful objects and thus minimize
energy use.


One important thing to notice here is that many of the proposed solutions can potentially be
reached by TRIZ analysis. The effectiveness of TRIZ analysis is that we reach to the solution
much faster because of the systematic innovation methods rather than the trial-and-error
method. We believe the proper implementation of these proposed solutions can be
extremely effective in solving the pollution problem.



To top